A massive 8.2 earthquake struck just off the coast of Iquique in northern Chile Tuesday night, triggering a tsunami warning.
The United States Geological Survey said the epicenter was about 62 miles northwest of Iquique.
Chile’s Office of National Emergencies ordered an evacuation of all its coastal areas, saying that kind of earthquake carries a risk of a tsunami.
This is a breaking news story; we’ll update as we get more.
Update at 11:09 p.m. ET. Two Dead, Three Injured
Chilean authorities are reporting two dead three seriously injured in Iquique, the city closest to the offshore quake. Reuters said Iquique Mayor Gonzalo Prieto reported the casualties to local radio station Cooperativa.
AP said about 300 inmates escaped from an Iquique women’s prison. Chile’s military was reportedly sending a plane of special forces to guard against looting.
In addition, the mayor of the city of Arica, some 300 km to the south, said some homes made of adobe were damaged and there were minor injuries.
Update at 9:35 p.m. ET. Tsunami Warning And Watches:
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says Chile, Peru and Ecuador are under a tsunami warning. Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador are under a tsunami watch.
In an interview with Chile’s Channel 13, the mayor of Arica, just north of Iquique, said the city had only seen small waves, “nothing that we would call a tsunami.”
Update at 9:22 p.m. ET. No Reports Of Injuries:
Mahmud Aleuy, Chile’s sub-secretary of the interior, said during a televised press conference the Chilean government has not received any reports of injuries or serious damage.
The government is asking the entire coast, however, to evacuate, which has caused some traffic problems, Aleuy said.
He added that the northern part of Chile had received a first tsunami wave, but was expecting a second one, because the sea had receded.
Update at 9:02 p.m. ET. The Last Big Earthquake:
The last big earthquake that affected Chile was a powerful 8.8 magnitude quake that struck near Concepcion in 2010.
It left 1.5 million displaced and about 500 dead.
Update at 8:51 p.m. ET. USGS Upgrades Earthquake:
The USGS has upgraded the earthquake to a magnitude 8.2. Chilean seismologists put the earthquake at an 8.3 magnitude.
Update at 8:26 p.m. ET. Tsunami May Have Been Generated:
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says based on sea level readings, “a tsunami was generated.”
“It may have been destructive along the coasts near the earthquake epicenter,” the PTWC reports.
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